Civilian air defense drills to be held in May, August

The government will stage nationwide civilian air defense drills in May and August, to maintain a defense readiness posture against North Korea, the office of Prime Minister Han Duck-soo said Tuesday.

The air-raid drills, which have not been held on a nationwide scale since 2017, will be held on May 16 and Aug. 23, according to the office.

The drills did not take place in 2018 and 2019 amid the government's focus on disaster responses in the aftermath of an earthquake that hit the eastern coastal city of Pohang in 2018. In the following years, they were put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the 15-minute training, pedestrians are required to move into nearby underground evacuation facilities and cars must be stopped on roads, the office said.

Han was briefed about measures to bolster the country's civil defense, such as instantly sending mobile phone text messages for air raid alerts, the office said.

In November last year, the government came under criticism as it sent warnings belatedly over a North Korean missile that fell into waters south of the de facto sea border.

Source: Yonhap News Agency